Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

A brief history of psychedelic rock. Black light posters, trippy music and high fidelity quad speakers. Psychedelic rock as another momentary fad, pretty much dead in the water by mid-1968, the influence of psychedelic rock runs long and deep.

Beginnings: Psychedelic rock originated on the American West coast out of the hippie movement of the mid-to-late 1960s. First taking root in the San Francisco Bay area, psychedelic rock’s popularity quickly spread throughout America and to Europe.

Images of the counterculture of the 1960’s, Woodstock, and big names such as Jimi Hendrix or The Doors are what people first think upon hearing psychedelic rock. In fact, many of the bands we consider to be pillars of classic rock are considered psychedelic rock bands. Even the earliest psych albums are influential to this day, each post 1960’s decade heralding a revival of the genre. Important features are heavy reverb, a large key presence (especially electronic organs), Eastern instruments and musical themes, long instrumental sections, and surreal lyrics that often reference the use of hallucinogenic drugs.

Growing up on albums like Disraeli Gears and The Dark Side of the Moon were integral in the development of my personal music taste and exploring my own definition of music. Maybe this is why we love psychedelia- it reminds us of our parents, our grandparents, or our very first album. Perhaps it reminds you of the first song you heard on the radio.

The year is 1965. A clear youth counterculture has begun to emerge, experimenting in their usage of drugs such as weed, psilocybin, and LSD. A little over a decade has passed since the term “rock and roll” has been coined. The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13thFloor Elevators is released, its liner notes and album art explicitly advocating the use of LSD as a means of freeing the soul and expanding the mind. 13th Floor members Roky Erickson, referred to as the “godfather of psychedelic rock,” and Tommy Hall are credited with coining the term “psychedelic rock”.

Hall’s use of the electric jug in particular is a key element of reproducing the feel of an acid trip in music, emulating a bending of reality and a trance-like state. The lyrics also incite a distant, out-of-body feeling, from lyrics about “liquid distant castles” to “living on monkey island”.

Although moderate in success, the album is arguably one of the most influential in establishing the genre and helped Austin grow as a hub of music in the South. Other notable artists to emerge out of the Texas psychedelic rock scene include Janis Joplin, Red Krayola and Bubble Puppy. At the same time, author Ken Kesey and a group called The Merry Pranksters were touring the San Francisco Bay Area handing out acid (not yet outlawed), accompanied by early performances by The Grateful Dead, and visuals created by oil projections in what would later be known as “The Acid Tests”. As LSD became more influential in youth culture, it became more and more clear across the nation that it would shape the next wave of music.

The following year, The Beach Boys release Pet Sounds, not only hailed as one of the greatest and most influential albums of all time, but the defining album in bridging psychedelic rock and pop music.

Another pioneering album in psychedelic rock history, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club.

In response, a British psychedelic rock scene began to grow, more experimental and pop-like in its sound than the heavy American counterpart which paved the way for the birth of metal and prog.

In 1969, psychedelic rock reached the peak of its popularity. This is the year we get the Woodstock Festival, one of the most definitive moments in rock and roll. This is the height of youth counterculture, and within the same year it comes crashing down with many “acid causalities”.

Although a few psychedelia bands remained, throughout the 80’s it mostly served to influence new genres such as the alternative scene, grunge and industrial rock in the 1990’s with such acts as The Flaming Lips, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, Sound Garden and Alice in Chains. Although they achieve some popular success, this “neo-psychedelia” is still decidedly underground. It is not until around 2001, with the so-called “revival” of rock and roll and a flourishing and increasingly popular alternative scene that many neo-psychedelia bands form.

As the indie scene began to take on a particularly large role with youth in 2010-onward, so did psychedelia and its influences. Today, we see the development of subgenres like acid house and trance music developing from the once again rising psychedelic rock scene. Whether a lifelong fan or a listener trying to branch out, perhaps it’s time to spin that acid rock vinyl at the bottom of the bin just one more time.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

Peaches Record’s & Tapes Sunrise Florida

The Record Store Day party started this past Saturday April 23rd 2022. Music lovers and vinyl collectors flooded their local record stores world wide searching for RSD exclusives and elusives. The party went all weekend long. There has been trending posts and videos on all social media platforms where everyone shared their vinyl hauls. In honor of “Record Store Day 22 ”I will cover a brief bit of history about record store culture.

The first Peaches Records and Tapes store opened in Atlanta, GA in 1975. With the huge success upon opening and with support from their loyal fan base, they eventually opened around 45 stores… peaking in the late 70’s. By this time, they had opened up in most major markets all throughout the United States including Sunrise Florida where I frequented the establishment regularly as an avid vinyl collector and huge fan of rock music.

Peaches was THE place to be with their vast inventory, knowledgeable staff, and constant music promotions. 

The iconic Peaches logo was inspired by the California mountains and fruit groves, and was fused with a Georgia style peach crate to hold your personal vinyl collection. Today, Peaches Record Crates carries on the legacy of building these timeless crates for both old and new collectors alike. Our craftsmen quality crates are the perfect addition to your collection and are handmade in the USA.

If you were lucky enough, as we were growing up, your local Camelot had a medieval castle facade. It brought a nice Arthurian vibe to the mall. In the late 1970s, Camelot also tried to launch a chain of free-standing brick-and-morter stores called Grapevine Records and Tapes.

Folks in the Chicago area will remember this spot for CDs and tapes. The chain eventually expanded to other states.

Don’t be fooled by the cute name — this New England–based chain had ties to the mob. Strawberries was opened and owned by Morris Levy, erstwhile owner of Manhattan’s famed Birdland jazz club and president of the Roulette Records label. In 1988, Levy was convicted of extortion in Federal court. The FBI claimed he had ties to organized crime and drug dealers.

Sam Goody was one of the last on this list to survive, as the mall chain made it into the new millennium before filing for bankruptcy in 2006. The slogan proclaimed “Goody got it,” and indeed the company was able to lure big names to its New York City store. Even Laverne & Shirley showed up to sign copies of their record in 1976.

Tower was one of the last giants. Its strength was in its stock, as the big retailer was able to carry seemingly every title, including a healthy selection of imports.

Those from the Atlanta area undoubtedly picked up some wax from Turtle’s. The chain expanded around the Southeast. We remember showing up to one for a Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge release party back in the day.

Located just north of the famed intersection of Hollywood and Vine, the landmark Capitol Records Building was designed by Welton Becket, the architect who also designed the Music Center, Cinerama Dome, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and the department store that now houses the Petersen Automotive Museum. The 13-story tower, which resembles a stack of records, was the world’s first circular office building when it was completed in April 1956.

Frank Sinatra at Capitol Studios | Photo courtesy of Capitol Studios, Facebook

The Capitol Records Building is the site of the historic Capitol Studios, where Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, Nat “King” Cole, Sir Paul McCartney, and many more music legends recorded some of the most treasured music in history. The first album recorded at Capitol Studios was Frank Sinatra Conducts Tone Poems of Color. The Capitol Studios feature echo chambers that were designed by legendary guitarist and recording innovator Les Paul. The echo chambers are subterranean concrete bunkers that are located 30 feet underground. They can provide reverb that lasts up to five seconds – the effect is perhaps most famously heard on The Beach Boys classic, Good Vibrations.

THE RED LIGHT

The building’s 90-foot rooftop spire, which resembles the needle on a phonograph, is topped by a red light that continuously blinks the word “Hollywood” in Morse code. The light was turned on when the building opened in 1956 – Leila Morse, the granddaughter of Samuel Morse, threw the switch. In June 1992, the message was changed to “Capitol 50” in honor of the label’s 50th anniversary. A year later, the light returned to blinking the original “Hollywood.”

Empire Records the movie.

Joe (Anthony LaPaglia) runs Empire Records, an independent Delaware store that employs a tight-knit group of music-savvy youths. Hearing that the shop may be sold to a big chain, slacker employee Lucas (Rory Cochrane) bets a chunk of the store’s money, hoping to get a big return. When this plan fails, Empire Records falls into serious trouble, and the various other clerks, including lovely Corey (Liv Tyler) and gloomy Deb (Robin Tunney), must deal with the problem, among many other issues.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

Babylon Sisters By Steely Dan. Album: Gaucho Released November 21, 1980

  • Some lyric interpretation:”Babylon Sisters” – Fallen women, fallen and degenerate lifestyles – he realizes he is getting too old for this shallow experiences.”Cotton Candy” – Nose candy, a reference to cocaine.”Tell me I’m the only One” – A delusional reference to relationships with prostitutes, as he wants to believe he’s more than just a client. Babylon is Biblical, about a fallen people. Steely Dan uses it as an analogy to indulgent lifestyles and self-destructive behavior, a theme that also shows up in their song “Kid Charlemagne.” In this case, the narrator is indulging in prostitutes.
  • This is the first track on Steely Dan’s Gaucho album, their last until 2000 when they released Two Against Nature. Steely Dan is a rare group that would sometimes record songs that none of the band members played on. That was the case with Babylon Sisters, which has lead vocals from Donald Fagen, but no instrumental contributions from him or Walter Becker. The group always chose the players that best suited the song, and in this case the lineup included drummer Bernard Purdie, who played his distinctive “Purdie Shuffle,” and bass player Chuck Rainey. The other instruments were:Bass Clarinet: George Marge, Walter Kane
    Fender Rhodes Electric Piano, Clavinet: Don Grolnick
    Guitar: Steve Khan
    Percussion: Crusher Bennett
    Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Clarinet: Tom Scott
    Trumpet, Flugelhorn: Randy Brecker
  • The duo used six talented backup singers on this track: Diva Grey, Gordon Grody, Lani Groves, Leslie Miller, Patti Austin and Toni Wine. Austin would have a #1 hit the following year with “Baby, Come To Me,” her duet with James Ingram.
  • Steely Dan are known for being perfectionists in the studio, a reputation they lived up to on this track. The song was recorded at Village Recorders in Los Angeles, which had a new Neve console, giving them lots of control of various sonic details. Donald Fagen made seemingly endless tweaks to this song, creating one mix after another. Someone in the studio must have been keeping count, because when he hit 250 mixes, the crew gave him a “platinum” disk they created just for him. Fagen kept going, and it was mix number 274 that finally won his approval. He took that mix home to New York, but heard a note in the bass line he didn’t like, so he returned to Los Angeles a week later and reconvened the team to fix it. The engineers won a Grammy for their efforts: Gaucho took the award for Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical. (This story is told in Johnny Black’s article “Vinyl Icon: Gaucho,” published in Hi-Fi News & Record Review.)

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

Dr. Wu By Steely Dan. Album: Katy Lied Released March 1975

  • This song seems to be about a betrayed lover talking to his eccentric shrink, who perhaps has stolen the guy’s girl. It features the signature Steely Dan irony: “All night long, we would sing that stupid song, and every word we sang I knew was true.”As to the identity of Dr. Wu, Steely Dan claims he’s a fictional character, with Donald Fagen explaining, “We change the names to protect the innocent.”
  • Becker told Rolling Stone during their 2009 tour: “It’s about that uneasy relationship between the patient and doctor. People put faith in doctors, yet they abuse their power and become dangerous.”
  • This title of the album comes from a line in this song: “Katy lies, you could see it in her eyes.”
  • If you read a drug connection into this song, you’re on the right track. Donald Fagen describes it as “kind of a love-dope triangle,” adding, “I think usually when we do songs of a romantic nature, one or more of the participants in the alliance will come under the influence of someone else or some other way of life, and that will usually end up in either some sort of compromise or a split. In this song the girl meets somebody who leads another kind of life, and she’s attracted to it. Then she comes under the domination of someone else, and that results in the ending of the relationship or some amending of the relationship. In ‘Dr. Wu’ that someone else is a dope habit. personified as Doctor Wu.”
  • Katy Lied marked the first appearance of singer Michael McDonald on a Steely Dan album, a year before he joined the Doobie Brothers. Mojomagazine asked McDonald if Steely Dan’s perfectionist album sessions were frustrating? He replied: “It it was always a challenge to pull it off; sometimes I did and sometimes I didn’t. They sent me ‘Dr. Wu’ to learn, and right away I realized I needed to sing the part in one breath. I wasn’t able to do it because I smoked way too much at that point.”

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

Reelin’ in The Years By Steely Dan. Album: Can’t Buy A Thrill, Released November 1972

This song is about recalling times with a girlfriend and a romantic breakup. It’s one of the most popular Steely Dan songs, but also one of their least favorite. In Rolling Stone, September 17, 2009, Donald Fagan said, “It’s dumb but effective.” Walter Becker added, “It’s no fun.”

Steely Dan are known for their meticulous sound – every note must be perfect. This song is sometimes criticized for bringing on overly polished mainstream ’70s music.

Elliot Randall, who was not a member of Steely Dan, stopped by on an invite from Skunk Baxter while they were recording this and ended up playing the guitar solo. This was one of the first of many times Walter Becker and Donald Fagen would use studio musicians, and by their fourth album, nearly every player was a studio musician. Randall also played on their albums Katy Lied and The Royal Scam.

The quadraphonic mix of this song has extra Elliot Randall guitar fills not heard on the familiar stereo version.

Randall’s guitar solo earned high praise from Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. According to Classic Rock magazine (January 1999), Page has said it is his favorite guitar solo of all time.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

Kid Charlemagne By Steely Dan. Album: Royal Scam Released May 31, 1976

This song was inspired by Owsley Stanley III, the first “underground” chemist to mass produce high-quality LSD in the 1960s in San Francisco. Walter Becker explained: “It was kind of an Owsleyesque figure that existed in our mind’s eye. I think he was based on the idea of the outlaw-acid-chef of the ’60s who had essentially outlived the social context of his specialty but of course he was still an outlaw.”

According to Donal Fagen, the story in this song takes place from 1968-1976. As time goes on, Charlemagne’s services fall out of favor, leading to his demise.

Steely Dan favorite Larry Carlton played guitar on this track. Donald Fagen said: “He’s a real virtuoso. In my opinion he can get around his instrument better than any studio guitarist. He’s also quite a good blues player. He did the solos on ‘Kid Charlemagne.’ The middle solo he did in two takes and we used parts of both. The last solo was straight improvisation.”

In a Rolling Stone interview before during Steely Dan’s 2009 tour, Becker said that this was their most-requested song, with the line, “Is there gas in the car, yes there’s gas in the car” providing a sing-along moment. Said Becker, “A cab driver once told me that that was the stupidest line he’s ever heard.”

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

Deacon Blues By Steely Dan. Album: Aja, Released September 23, 1977

This song has the curious chorus line of:

They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues

At the time, the University Of Alabama was a football powerhouse, winning the National Championship in 1973 and losing just one game in each of their next two seasons under the direction of their famous coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Alabama is known as “The Crimson Tide,” a grandiose name that Steely Dan’s Walter Becker and Donald Fagen found amusing.The “Deacon” is often thought to be the Wake Forest University “Demon Deacons,” whose football team struggled for much of the ’70s, winning just seven games from 1972-1975. According to Fagen, however, that name came from Deacon Jones, a star football player with the Rams and Chargers who got a lot of attention in the media because of his aggressive play and outsized personality. The name fit well into the song, with “Deacon” matching up sonically with “Crimson.”

The song is about a guy who Becker describes as a “Triple-L loser.” In the Classic Albums documentary on Aja, he said: “The protagonist is not a musician, he just sort of imagines that would be one of the mythic forms of loser-dom to which he might aspire. And who’s to say that he’s not right?”Fagen added: “‘Deacon Blues’ is about as close to autobiography as our tunes get. We were both kids who grew up in the suburbs, we both felt fairly alienated. Like a lot of kids in the ’50s, we were looking for some kind of alternative culture, an escape from where we found ourselves.”

When asked about the line, “They call Alabama the Crimson Tide, call me Deacon Blues,” Donald Fagen told Rolling Stone magazine: “Walter and I had been working on that song at a house in Malibu. I played him that line, and he said, ‘You mean it’s like, ‘They call these cracker a–holes this grandiose name like the Crimson Tide, and I’m this loser, so they call me this other grandiose name, Deacon Blues?’ and I said ‘Yeah!’ He said, ‘Cool, let’s finish it.'”

The Scottish rock group Deacon Blue, who enjoyed seven Top 20 UK hits between 1988 and 1994, took their name from this song.

Regarding the opening line, “This is the day of the expanding man,” Donald Fagen cites the 1953 sci-fi novel The Demolished Man, by Alfred Bester, as an influence. The book finds the main character “expanding” his mind and thinking of all the possibilities in his life.

When our hero is “ready to cross that fine line” in this song, that’s the line between being a loser and being a winner, a line that according to Becker he has tried to cross before, but without success.

Musicians on this track are:Lead Vocals, Synthesizer: Donald Fagen
Bass: Walter Becker
Drums: Bernard Purdie
Electric Piano (Fender Rhodes): Victor Feldman
Guitar: Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour
Tenor Saxophone: Pete Christlieb
Backing Vocals: Clydie King, Sherlie Matthews, Venetta Fields

The 12-second intro on this track is one of the most distinctive openings in rock. It was created by having guitarist Larry Carlton and piano player Victor Feldman play the same chords, which were layered together with drummer Bernard Purdie’s cymbals.

When this song was near completion, Becker and Fagen decided they wanted a sax solo, and they had a very specific sound in mind: the tenor sax that played going to commercial on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. They tracked down the sax player in the Tonight Show band, Pete Christlieb, who recorded his part after a taping of the show. There are many tales of musicians being asked to do take after take during a Steely Dan session, but Christlieb was done in 30 minutes, and it was his second take they used. His part, and the rest of the horns, were arranged by Tom Scott.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch”series where wefind out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

“Man On The Moon” R.E.M.

This R.E.M. song is a tribute to American comedian Andy Kaufman, who had died at age 35. When he was a teenager, R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe saw Kaufman on Saturday Night Live, and has cited him as a huge influence ever since. There were many rumours that his death was just a major hoax (the same way there are still rumours that the moon landing was faked – hence the title).

People and things mentioned in this song: Mott the Hoople, Life, Monopoly, Twister, Risk, checkers, chess, twenty-one, wrestler Fred Blassie, Elvis Presley, Moses, Sir Isaac Newton, and Charles Darwin.

Kaufman was known for his Elvis-impersonations, which he once performed on Saturday Night Live. Stipe tries one of his own on the line, “Hey, baby are we losing touch?”

This was used as the title for a 1999 movie about Andy Kaufman, starring Jim Carrey. R.E.M. did the soundtrack, which included this song.

In the liner notes for Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011, Peter Buck recalled how the music for this song came together: “‘Man on the Moon’ was something that Bill [Berry] had this one chord change that he came in with, which was C to D like the verse of the song, and he said, ‘I don’t know what to do with that.’ I used to finish some of Bill’s things … he would come up with the riffs, but I would be the finish guy for that. I sat down and came up with the chorus, the bridges, and so forth. I remember we showed it to Mike and Michael when they came in later; definitely we had the song finished. I think Bill played bass and I played guitar; we kept going around with it. I think we might have played some mandolin on it in the rehearsal studio.”The lyric, though, was another matter. Stipe struggled to find the right words and was against the clock because the album was due soon. Instead of working through it in the studio, the band took a few days off, during which Stipe listened to the track on a cassette in his rental car until he found inspiration. “When we reconvened, Michael walked into the studio, sang, ‘Man On The Moon’ once, and walked out,” Peter Buck said in the In Time compilation. “We were all stunned. It was one of those magic moments I’ll remember long after the award ceremonies and the photo sessions have disappeared into the mists of time.”

Now, Andy did you hear about this one?
Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
Andy are you goofing on Elvis? Hey, baby
Are we losing touch?

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch”series where wefind out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

The lead single from The Search for Everything: Wave Two, “Still Feel Like Your Man” is similar in several ways to “Moving On and Getting Over” from Wave One. Both are groovy, funky tunes with lyrics about getting over an ex, though in this instance Mayer admits to still having feelings for her.

The song was premiered on April 7, 2015 by Mayer during a secret live show at the Hotel Café in Los Angeles.

Mayer told Rolling Stone that the name of the song came to him in a flash. He then proceeded to write wrote numerous pages of ideas. “The title itself had lyrics blowing out of it from every corner,” he said.Once he found the right music to go with the concept, Mayer wrote for three solid days. “I feel like I never touched the ground those three days,” he said, “like ‘Let’s not worry about what this might draw from and be true to whatever it is.'”Mayer added that he spent more hours revising and improving the song than any other he’s recorded. The final result, after a period of years in which he completely deconstructed and reconstructed the tune countless times, is a vibe that the singer described as “ancient Japanese R&B.”

Mayer’s favorite lyric – “I still keep your shampoo in the shower, in case you want to wash your hair” – is one of many autobiographical moments on The Search For Everything. On the day of Wave 2‘s release, Mayer tweeted: “I still keep your shampoo in my shower/in case you wanna wash your hair” in a ballad would be too sad for human consumption.”

Speaking with The New York Times, John Mayer confirmed that the ex who he is singing of during this song is Katy Perry, insisting it should be pretty obvious to fans. The two artists dated on and off from 2012 until early 2016, and Mayer admits he never fully got over the breakup, as their relationship had meant so much to him. “Who else would I be thinking about?” he asked. “And by the way, it’s a testament to the fact that I have not dated a lot of people in the last five, six years. That was my only relationship.”

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch”series where wefind out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

“Lost Ones” by Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill in this song makes references to her beef with former Fugees band mate Wyclef Jean, how they both got successful and destroyed their relationship.

The singer who suggests that her freedom makes her ex uncomfortable, claims that people tried to use her youth against her by trying to exploit her naivety but she was well aware of all their tricks. The narrator in the chorus makes it clear that although this ex thinks they have gained a lot of material things after their breakup, he has actually lost one great treasure; her. She further throws shade at her ex for being hypocritical, implying that karma will reward him in due time.

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